Sunday, July 03, 2005

Currently very annoyed

A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) recently told me that I had been placing periods in the wrong location in conjunction with quotation marks. All my life, I have been placing periods inside quotation marks. Then, said friend, who is much smarter than me in the technical aspects of writing, told me I was wrong. Periods go outside quotation marks. So, in this blog, not wanting to look like an unedjamacated boob, I've been putting my periods outside my quotation marks, despite that fact that, all along, it has made my ass chew gum.

So, I visit a couple of websites, and, lo and behold, here is what I find: in the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic. In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education, punctuation around quotation marks is more apt to follow logic. In American style, then, you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design." But in England you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design".


I will now return to the punctuation style comfortable for my illogical American mind and the hobgoblins who occupy it.

And there was much rejoicing in the echo chamber I call my brain...


kenju said...

That's so odd. I have always placed the period or other "sentence-ender" outside the quote marks. That is the way I was taught back in the 40's and 50's, and I am an American. If the quote has it's own punctuation mark at the end, such as an exclamation point, that goes inside the quote marks and then there is a period after the quote mark. Please don't tell me I have been doing it wrong for 55+ years!!

Merujo said...

Interesting! This apparently is only for periods. With question marks or exclamation points, it's outside the quotation marks, regardless of whether you're in the U.S. or the U.K.

Perhaps we had a slight stylistic shift sometime in the 60's or early 70's. (I was a first grader in '70-71...) Here's a website that has more information:

Anonymous said...


I have known ( or at least suspected ) for quite some time that I have been doing it wrong.

At some point in my life, I am sure, I "rememberized"* the "right way", and I took some kind of a test, and passed it and then promptly forgot it.

Why I have ceased to care, is really anybody's guess... All I know is that sometime after I hit 30, all grammar and punctuation rules became meaningless to me.

Yes, I went rogue.

Unless I am being paid, no one can expect any sort of proper writing out of me.

This explains a lot, doesn't it?


*Rememberized is a short term memory thing, not to be confused with "memorizing" which actually has a lasting impact on brain cells.

Sasquatch said...

In England, it would be your favourite poem, no? :)

In any event, I would like to state for the record that I had nothing to do with the current quotation mark-period dilemma. Just wanted to get that out there in case anyone had in mind to start a torches-and-pitchforks anti-Sasquatch movement given my predilection for nitpicking. (Torches singe my fur...)

jackanape said...

Ha ha. In England we treat punctuation as a foreign language anyway, but I think it's more fun that way. Do whatever you feel comfortable with I say.

Merujo said...

Yes, for the record, it wasn't the Sasquatch who set me upon this pathway of frustration!! (Nor was it the Atomic Editor, for that matter.) I plan to call the friend in question and taunt away (for entertainment purposes only...)

Sorry, Sasquatch - didn't even think you'd think yourself to be taking the heat for that!!! ;-( Your fur is so lovely this time of the year...